Texas 4000 riders set to visit Woodward on Sunday

A bevy of bicycle riders making an amazing 4,500 mile trek from Austin, Texas all the way to Anchorage, Alaska are expected to peddle through Woodward and spend the night Sunday.

In all, 79, undergraduate and graduate, students from the University of Texas at Austin will pedal over 4,500 miles in support of the fight against cancer, said race alumni and program coordinator, Kathryn Flowers.

According to Flowers there are three routes, each covering different states and locations along the way, but all will wind up in Anchorage when it is over.

There will be 28 riders who are a part of the Woodward leg and they will be able to be seen riding up U.S. Highway, 270, north into Woodward sometime between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, Flowers said. The racers will stay for the night at the Woodward Church of Christ.

The riders spend between 8 and 10 hours a day cycling to arrive at their next destination, Flower said.

“How long it takes them of course depends on the weather and many other factors,” she said.

Participants in the race this year raised an unprecedented $550,000, which will go directly toward several cancer treatment centers and support centers in the U.S. and Canada, Flowers said.

To be allowed to participate, students who took a longing glance at the challenge had to prove they could do it by first completing a 1,500 miles qualifying ride and they also were required to volunteer at local cancer centers or children’s hospitals, Flowers said.

Another peculiarity about this group of charity riders, Flower said, is the fact that each rider had to plan all 4,500 miles of the trip and depend very little, if at all on financial support from the organization.

“We try not to budget too much in the way of money for food or lodging because we find that people want to help and it leaves that much more of the funds that were raised that go directly into the cancer foundations we are benefitting,” she said.

The Texas 4000 began 11 years ago when Chris Condit, a University of Texas student and cancer survivor, sought a way to share a message of hope, knowledge and charity to those with cancer, Flowers said.

Since then, Texas 4000 has sent over 400 riders on their bicycles, traveling more than 2 million miles to honor those affected by cancer. Collectively, these riders have raised more than $4 million for the fight against cancer, funding cancer research projects at MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Biomedical Engineering Department, and survivorship programs such as the LIVESTRONG Navigational Services Center.

For Flowers, each year planning for the event brings back memories of the year she, herself, took on the challenge of the ride.

“It’s really hard to pick a favorite part of the.whole ride,” Flowers said. “I think it was meeting people. You meet so many people and I especially enjoyed going through rural communities because they are so friendly – they share their stories with us. Most people I met had a story of how they had been effected by cancer.”

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward News. June 5, 2014.